30,000 users to get "shock cash demands" for file-sharing

25 November 2009

Now this is a little scary. TorrentFreak is tonight reporting that lawyers in the UK have been granted court orders which "force ISPs to hand over the details of individuals who they say have been monitored sharing hardcore pornography". According to the site, up to 30,000 individuals - as many as 25,000 BT and 5,000 customers of other ISPs - will be receiving "shock letters demanding big payments" during the coming weeks.

Bitterwallet - BT users to receive cash demands for file-sharingLast week at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, a firm called ACS:Law made applications for orders that force ISPs to hand over the names and addresses of subscribers that are claimed to have infringed their client’s rights. TorrentFreak states the orders related to around 30,000 IP addresses in relation to nearly 300 movie titles.

These aren't the first such orders to be published - there's plenty more reading on the topic at TorrentFreak and the website BeingThreatened (which provides advice to innocent parties receiving letters from ACS:Law).

TOPICS:   Technology


  • Wibble
    That's a bit wank....
  • Jeffrey A.
    I never understood the point of feature length pornos to be honest. Its not like 95% of guys even need to watch them for longer than 3 minutes...
  • Brian
    Hi, my name is Brian. I have watched rude things on a site called "Red Tube". Will i receive a summons and have my name reported in the local newspaper?
  • David
    Brian, only if you are a politician.
  • bill
    I guess its another form of fishing, they will get your name and address and demand payment, 'if' they took you to court, your fine would not even cover their costs !! its not worth their while. if your wifi network is not secure, it could be anyone downloading it anyway :-) As far as Brian is concerned, you are only downloading, not sharing (via bittorrent) so they can't track you as easily, dont worry. Looks like they just want some publicity !!
  • Mark C.
    @Brian Yes unfortunately you will. You will probably be in the national newspapers as well because the law firm has to make a public declaration by law. Still thinking it was worth the wank? ;-)
  • Matt. S.
    Interesting new tactic, scaring people into settling so that it doesn't become public that they were downloading hardcore porn. I wonder if they'll demand it in 50s stuffed inside a manilla envelope.
  • Brian's U.
    brian, stop watching those movies and do some homework!
  • Pau S.
    LOL The tv licencing people have been trying to charge me for 10 years without any results! Another letter won't bother me.
  • tony_s1
    Hardly news. Davenport Lyons started this off a few years ago. It either proved unprofitable or unpopular with some of their clients so they passed the work on to ACS:law. They are, apparently, more or less a one man band consisting of one Andrew Crossley, who has a chequered past (and present!). He'll frighten some money out of a few mugs, which is the sole aim. If you've got a lot of time to spare, have a look here http://www.slyck.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=44092 It's hard going but, in some rather macabre way, quite interesting!
  • Sideysid
    They'll never take me alive!!...fap fap fap
  • Juan K.
    Ive worked for an ISP and they are looking at everyone with programs such as bit torrent, limewire, emule etc, not just sharing porn, but all content. Apparently ISPs Virgin etc will be dealing with individuals seperatley
  • THE P.
    Hello Brian, i think you will be exactly like the content of them videos you watch. FUCKED :P
  • Kevin
    Who downloads full porn movies anyway? ACS:Law have got nowhere before and will again, apart from the poor fools that panic. Of course this could work out rather well for us if they totally screw up this (oap's being threatened when they didn't download anything, people with no pc's being threatened, people who can prove they were out of the country etc) on the scale of 30,000 people it could truly screw up the governments plans to clamp down on all illegal downloads as it could legally be proved how useless the system is.
  • Alan
    If this is for copyright infringement, most porn legally sold in the UK is crap, they don't show anything interesting whatsoever. That's why we download it right?!
  • Rich
    For anyone who does get a letter, follow the thread here for help: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/debt-collection-industry/198192-acs-law-80.html
  • Alan
    These people deserve to be scam-baited :D
  • bob
    Just tell the leaching bastards to feck off if they come a calling. will they end up taking anybody to court? highly unlikely. its just some chancer who has won a contract and is going to try his luck. I look forward to receiving my letter requesting payment and should the muppet turn up on my doorstep ill receive great pleasure stuffing his demand up his arse
  • bob
    Oh and Brian I always knew you were a wanker :-)
  • Devlin
    @Alan Proper porn is available legally in the UK but only from licensed premises. Not as hardcore as some european countries but you do get to see everything and not just facial expressions like you did in the past.
  • Darren
    Present at the hearing before Chief Master Winegarten (CMW) were Andrew Crossley and Terence Tsang from ACS:Law, representatives from UK ISP BT and three representatives from consumer outfit Which?, who previously made official complaints regarding the conduct of Davenport Lyons. Also present were two individuals previously wrongly accused, who are regulars at the support site BeingThreatened.com. Before the hearing began, CMW noted that he had received letters of complaint from the public about the scheme. As reported to TorrentFreak by those present, during the hearing Andrew Crossley made some interesting comments. After CMW expressed interest in what happens to an accused infringer after the court order is granted and a letter sent, Crossley said that his company was not suggesting that the recipient is definitely guilty in all cases, but the Internet account holder who receives the letter could perhaps help them to identify the person who had actually carried out the infringement. It is worth noting that ISP account holders are not liable for copyright infringement carried out on his/her connection if a) they did not carry it out themselves or b) did not authorize any infringement. If they did neither they can simply write back to ACS:Law explaining that the accusation against them has been made in error. Furthermore, if the account holder does not know who did carry out the infringement, they should state in their reply that is the case. It is then up to ACS:Law to find the real infringer based on their evidence they hold. This is impossible for them without the account holder pointing the finger.
  • N20Y1D
    Wheres the shame in it being made public? Wankers of the world unite!
  • Wayne K.
    How can you get fined for sharing hardcore pornography, which in itself is ILLEGAL. So it's now legal to charge people for this ??? :( . The isp's should be fined for not screening such content on it's networks :)
  • mdb
    given the past governments policy as classing broadband internet connection as a necessity for our children surely there must be many situations where suspension of daddies connection for downloading porn will lead to the kiddies being unfairly punished by restriction of their educational resources, maybe its a class thing?
  • The B.
    Phew, it's just sharing, my old fella was quivering with fear then.
  • Paul
    uTorrent + force encryption.
  • Jack
    @ Paul - uTorrent + force encryption. This doesn't do anything I don't think, only helps with throttling in some cases. Without an encrypted SSH tunnel no-one is safe
  • Hugo t.
    Gracias por la informaci
  • Argelia D.
    I have thought about this myself and you could not have explained it better!
  • Casey N.
    Laptops will change the world when they are accessible to everyone financially. Think of every man and women, having a personal laptop.
  • Spy c.
    [...] that the company they were using also represented the porn industry?  That allegation is made here & here, as well as hundreds of other sources on the [...]
  • ACS:Law B.
    [...] saga of ACS:Law threatening internet users for unlawful file sharing has dragged out forever, with sweet little in the way of action, unless you count their cack-handed handling of personal [...]
  • A B.
    [...] ACS:Law. You remember them? They’re the legal firm who tried to bully damages out of people suspected of illegal file-sharing, but without providing any proof. They’re also the same legal eagles who attempted to have [...]

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